2022 NFL Power Rankings Based on Opening Betting Lines
After the NFL releases its schedule for the upcoming season, the race is on between sportsbooks to be the first to open lines for not just Week 1, but every game of the season. This is the second year we’ve also seen lines for the final week of the season, which is Week 18 in January of 2023.
We got the opening lines for the 2022 NFL season pretty early. These spreads provide a great look into the expectations for each team this season. I have taken these spreads and calculated each team’s sum of spreads for all 17 games. This objective, quantitative measure is perfect for putting out some power rankings as we prepare for the 2022 NFL season to kick off.
This differs slightly from a traditional power ranking, since it factors in NFL strength of schedule and is also rooted in numbers instead of pure speculation. Using a consistent method each year also allows us to draw trends based on past results, which you’ll see below.
To be clear, these are opening lines from the offseason for every week. We will not consider what the lines open at ahead of each week during the season. Obviously, with the way NFL spreads work – the favorite is giving up points – the more negative the ATS +/- is, the better the team is expected to be.
2022 NFL Power Rankings
|2||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-77|
|3||Los Angeles Rams||-61|
|4||Green Bay Packers||-56|
|5||Los Angeles Chargers||-55|
|6||Kansas City Chiefs||-53|
|10||San Francisco 49ers||-34|
|15||Las Vegas Raiders||-7|
|20||New England Patriots||+9|
|22||New Orleans Saints||+12.5|
|24||New York Giants||+40.5|
|29||New York Jets||+65|
The Bills take the top spot in the NFL power rankings with the Buccaneers coming in as a close second. The 32nd-ranked team in the rankings is the Atlanta Falcons, with the Houston Texans just slightly above them at 31.
It’s worth noting last year’s top-ranked team (Kansas City) had an ATS +/- of -115. In fact, there were three teams with better ATS +/- last year than the top-ranked Bills this season. Even in 2017, 2018, and 2019, when we only had spreads for 15 games —only a 16-game schedule in these seasons and sportsbooks did not release lines for Week 17—we saw better ATS +/- numbers than this season.
To find a similar ATS +/- from the top-ranked team, we have to go back to 2016, when the Green Bay Packers were atop the power rankings with a -77 ATS +/-. This season we saw the Patriots, who were ranked third in our Power Rankings heading into the season, take down the Atlanta Falcons, who were ranked 25th, in the Super Bowl. The third-ranked team in this year’s power rankings is the LA Rams, while the 25th is the Detroit Lions. Don’t read too much into this, especially since these two teams cannot meet in Super Bowl 57 due to both being in the NFC.
The takeaway from this is the suggestion of better parity to be expected this season. The league does not possess any team who stands so far above the rest.
The team who has seen the most improvement year-over-year is the Cincinnati Bengals. Last year’s AFC Champion entered the 2021 season ranked 30th in ATS +/-, but now sit in 8th heading into the 2022 NFL season. The Seattle Seahawks have seen the biggest decline after trading away QB Russell Wilson. Seattle entered the 2021 season ranked 9th, but are 28th heading into the 2022 season.
Super Bowl Favorites
The Bills come in as the top team in my 2022 NFL Power Rankings, having an ATS +/- of -85. This is consistent with the Super Bowl odds, which also see the Bills atop the board. On average, Buffalo is 5.3-point favorites per game.
Fresh off an overtime loss to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round of last year’s playoffs, the Bills have revenge on their minds. Josh Allen is playing at an extremely high level and the Bills also added pass-rusher Von Miller to the squad.
Without a ton of strong competition inside the AFC East, the Bills should have a nice path to homefield advantage in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not far behind the Bills in the power rankings is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at #2, whose ATS +/- is -77. The Bucs were in jeopardy of dropping out of the true Super Bowl contenders when Tom Brady apparently announced his retirement. It didn’t last long for Brady, though, as he will be back for another season in Tampa Bay.
This is a team who is not far removed from being a Super Bowl champion, and they still have many of the pieces that helped them win Super Bowl 55.
Los Angeles Rams
There is a more dramatic drop-off getting to the third team in the power rankings: the LA Rams. But these are the defending champion LA Rams. Sean McVay and co. return many of their key pieces from last season, including Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford, Jalen Ramsey, and Cooper Kupp, among others.
They will have to defend their title without Von Miller (signed with Bills), Andrew Whitworth (retired), and Odell Beckham Jr (free agent).
Green Bay Packers
The Packers, like the Bucs, were also on the verge of falling out of Super Bowl contention this season with plenty of uncertainty around Aaron Rodgers future in the offseason. Retirement and being traded were both possible outcomes, but the reigning back-to-back NFL MVP is back for another season in Green Bay.
However, Rodgers will be without his favorite target Davante Adams this season, as the Packers traded their star wide receiver to the Las Vegas Raiders. The receiving corps has such a mix of older veterans—Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins—and very young, unproven talent—Allen Lazard, Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, and Amari Rodgers.
Los Angeles Chargers
Few teams made bigger moves in the offseason than the LA Chargers, who added Khalil Mack and JC Jackson to their defense. Justin Herbert is one of the brightest young stars at quarterback and he has a ton of weapons to utilize. He’ll need all of them in a very tough AFC West this season.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have been to four consecutive AFC Championship games, losing in two while winning one Super Bowl in that span. The Chiefs are not as high in the power rankings as they have been in previous years, which is simply due to the team trading away star wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
The Chiefs attempt to replace Hill with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and second-round rookie Skyy Moore.
Super Bowl Contenders
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Baltimore Ravens
- Indianapolis Colts
- San Francisco 49ers
- Denver Broncos
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Cleveland Browns
- Dallas Cowboys
Many of the teams in the Super Bowl contenders category have made some major moves this offseason. The Denver Broncos finally added a quarterback in trading for Russell Wilson; the Eagles added another great wide receiver for Jalen Hurts in AJ Brown; the Browns traded for Deshaun Watson; the Colts replaced Carson Wentz under center with Matt Ryan; and the 49ers will start second-year QB Trey Lance over Jimmy Garoppolo.
— NFL (@NFL) September 1, 2022
The Browns likely belong in the lower category, though, now that Deshaun Watson has been suspended for 11 games, forcing Cleveland to start Jacoby Brissett at QB.
Then you have the perennial contenders in the Baltimore Ravens, who suffered through a down season in 2021 full of many injuries to key players, as well as the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, who return basically everyone from their Super Bowl run last season. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase will look to build on their outstanding first season together in the pros.
The Dallas Cowboys find themselves on this list in spite of having many concerns up front on the offensive line. They will benefit again from playing in what should be a weak NFC East again, outside of the Eagles.
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Minnesota Vikings
- Tennessee Titans
- Miami Dolphins
- Arizona Cardinals
- New England Patriots
- Washington Commanders
- New Orleans Saints
It would not come as a major surprise to see any of the teams above make the 2022-23 NFL Playoffs. The Raiders made the playoffs last season and now head into the 2022 season with Josh McDaniels as their new head coach and have reunited Derek Carr with college teammate and friend Davante Adams.
The Vikings will be an intriguing team with new head coach Kevin O’Connell, who will bring that Rams passing attack to Minnesota with him. The Titans were the top seed in the AFC last season and now have Derrick Henry back to full health. They will need rookie Treylon Burks to step in and fill the AJ Brown role in their offense, though.
Tua to Tyreek first play of the game 🔥 @brgridiron
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 27, 2022
The Dolphins added Tyreek Hill and new head coach Mike McDaniel, who comes over from San Francisco. This is likely a make-or-break year for Tua Tagovailoa.
The Cardinals are another team who were in the playoffs last season and return much of their talent this year. Arizona will be without DeAndre Hopkins for the first six games of the season, though, as their star receiver serves a six game suspension. Kyler Murray will need to stay healthy and help the team avoid their patented midseason slump.
We can never count the Patriots out with Bill Belichick calling the shots, no matter how bad the offense looked in the preseason. The Commanders have a pretty good defense on paper, but their season will likely hinge on QB Carson Wentz. The Saints get Jameis Winston back under center, but Dennis Allen will serve as their head coach this season as Sean Payton retired.
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- New York Giants
- Detroit Lions
- Chicago Bears
- Carolina Panthers
- Seattle Seahawks
- New York Jets
- Jacksonville Jaguars
The Steelers enter the season without Ben Roethlisberger under center, and instead trot out former first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky. The defense in Pittsburgh still has some nice pieces, but there’s not a ton of confidence in the offense putting up many points.
The Giants brought in Brian Daboll to try and fix their own former first-round QB, Daniel Jones. It might be a year or two before Daboll has this team contending, though. The offseason darling Detroit Lions enter the season with more hype than we’ve seen in years. A stint on Hard Knocks has everyone more in love with Dan Campbell, but there’s still a ways to go before they find their way back into the playoffs.
Daniel Jones has been impressed with Brian Daboll's creativity as a head coach:
"He's always thinking. In the cafeteria, through the hallways…he's always coming up with new ideas." pic.twitter.com/BR0Xo91pWE
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) September 6, 2022
The Bears offense is likely going to struggle (a lot) this season. Justin Fields doesn’t have a great offensive line in front of him, nor does he have many weapons in the passing game. The Panthers did add Baker Mayfield to replace Sam Darnold, and have Christian McCaffrey healthy to start the season, but there aren’t many Matt Rhule believers.
Pete Carroll faces maybe his toughest test this season with a Seahawks roster that is in shambles. No more Russell Wilson and they also let Bobby Wagner go to the Rams. Seattle may belong in the tier below this.
The Jets season will hinge on Zach Wilson taking a (big) leap forward, but we won’t even get to see that for the first few weeks, as Wilson recovers from an injury suffered in the preseason. The Jaguars are probably the biggest wildcard on this list, as Doug Pederson takes over a team with talent on the roster and one of the best QB prospects we had seen in the last decade.
Fighting for 1st-Overall Pick
- Houston Texans
- Atlanta Falcons
At the bottom of the power rankings, we have the Falcons in 32nd and Texans in 31st. Atlanta’s ATS +/- of +90.5 makes them an average of 6-point underdogs per game, while Houston is an average 5.4-point underdogs per game.
The Falcons turn their team over to Marcus Mariota, while the Texans will run it back with Davis Mills under center. Neither of these teams project to win more than a handful of games, as they both have plenty of glaring holes on their respective rosters.
Don’t like where your team sits in the power rankings? That’s ok! This method for NFL power rankings has gotten some things wrong in the past. Let’s have a look back at the past seven years (the image only features five, but some of the trends below consider seven) to uncover some notable trends:
Power Rankings from Previous Seasons
Trends from ATS +/- in Past Seasons
- A team from the top four in ATS +/- has won the Super Bowl in four of the last seven seasons – the Chiefs losing to the Bucs in Super Bowl 56 and losing to the Bengals in the AFC Championship last year really damaged this trend
- A team from the top eight has won the Super Bowl each of the last four seasons
- A team from the top four in ATS +/- has made the Super Bowl in six of the last seven seasons – last year was the first time we saw this trend fail
- At least one team from the top three in ATS +/- has missed the playoffs in six of the last seven seasons – all teams from the top three made the playoffs last season; the Ravens, who were ranked fourth, missed
- At least two of the top five have missed the playoffs in four of the last seven seasons – two of the top six missed last year
- The team with the worst ATS +/- has won more than five games only once in the last six seasons – the Washington Football Team bucked this trend thanks to an incredibly weak NFC East in 2020
- The team with the best ATS +/- has only won the Super Bowl once in the last seven years
- At least two of the five worst teams in ATS +/- have gone on to lose 11+ games in each of the last seven seasons
- A team ranked between 18th and 25th of the ATS +/- has made the Super Bowl in four of the last seven seasons – it was the 30th-ranked team last year who made the run
- A team ranked between 18th and 25th of the ATS +/- has made their respective conference championship in five of the last seven years – the last two seasons are the two where this did not come true
- Of the two teams with the worst ATS +/- each season, we’ve only seen one go on to make the playoffs – the 2020 Washington Football Team
- Only four teams who were in the bottom-five in ATS +/- have made the playoffs over the last seven years (2021 Bengals, 2020 Football Team, 2018 Colts, and 2017 Rams)
- At least half of the top ten teams in ATS +/- have missed the playoffs in five of the last seven years – it did not happen in 2020 or 2021, but they also expanded the playoffs to include an extra wild card spot in each conference these seasons; last year saw four of the top ten miss
2022 NFL Predictions Based Off Power Ranking Trends
The loose trend says one of Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles (Rams), or Green Bay will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl 57 finishes. A stronger trend says one of these four teams will at least be playing in the big game in February of 2023.
Another strong trend says one of the four teams mentioned or Los Angeles (Chargers), Kansas City, Cincinnati, or Baltimore will win Super Bowl 57. But that’s too many teams to consider.
We’re also looking at one of the Bills, Buccaneers, or Rams missing the 2022-23 NFL playoffs. You can get +450 odds on Tampa Bay missing, +400 on Buffalo missing, and +200 on the Rams missing in the NFL playoff odds.
A handful of teams to look for when betting conference championship futures are: the Dolphins, Cardinals, Patriots, Commanders, Saints, Steelers, Giants, and Lions.
It’s bad news for Atlanta, however. As the team with the worst ATS +/-, the trend says they won’t win more than five games in 2020 – their NFL win total is set at 4.5. One of the Texans, Jaguars, Jets, or Seahawks will join them in losing 12+ games as well.
You can also essentially write off the Falcons and Texans from making the playoffs, and it’s very unlikely any of the other three teams in the bottom-five of ATS +/- will play more than 17 games this season.
What are the power rankings in the NFL right now?
All NFL teams are ranked from 1-32, with the Buffalo Bills at the top and the Atlanta Falcons at the bottom.
The Buffalo Bills are currently ranked #1 in the NFL Power Rankings.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ranked #2 in the NFL Power Rankings behind the Bills.
The Atlanta Falcons are the worst-ranked team in the NFL Power Rankings.
The top ten teams in the NFL Power Rankings are: the Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, and San Francisco 49ers.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.